What Is BCM and How Does it Relate to Cyber Security?
Business continuity management is the advanced planning and preparation of a company to continue functioning or quickly resume operations after a disaster has occurred on the premises. It is usually done through continuity management software that is efficient and simplifies the work processes. Such a product also defines potential risks to cybersecurity and physical threats like fire or flood.
Managers tend to plan and identify a potential crisis within their company before it happens. They create procedures and plans and test them to validate the functionality. Periodically, these structures are reviewed and tested so that they stay up to date and operational.
Business Continuity Management Structure
In addition to preventing disasters and eliminating risks, it is key to enable operations before and during the disaster recovery. To do this most efficiently, setting solid BCM frameworks beforehand is crucial. Companies develop various policies and strategies that can be used when such an incident occurs.
The strategies define the management structure and the key parties, and they present why business continuity is a necessity in this phase. For instance, the starting component of a well-defined business continuity management strategy is knowing who is responsible for developing a business continuity plan checklist. The second component is selecting a team that is responsible for the implementation of such a checklist.
Defining the scope of the BCM is vital so that each involved party knows what this means for the organization and why it is essential to implement it well.
Although the answers will be different for each organization, some of these questions are still key components in creating a well-defined BCM scope.
– Is the goal to keep applications operational?
– Are we working towards making all data accessible in times of an incident?
– Is the aim to keep products and services available?
– Or is the goal to keep physical locations and people safe?
Organizations need to be certain about what they cover with their business continuity management plan to undertake every needed step towards ensuring proper implementation. During this phase, management needs to assign roles and responsibilities and communicate them well to all affected parties.
Roles and Responsibilities
These will depend on the organization and may be based on the company’s job functions or, more precisely defined, based on the type of risk involved. People who get the roles may be based on previous experience or job-related tasks that fall in line with their specialty within the organization. Whatever the deciding process may be, it is of utmost importance that the structure, scope, and roles are clearly communicated and well supported.
The risk assessment encompasses the following forms of threats:
– Internal players
– Bad actors
– Competitor’s breach
– Market conditions
– Domestic and international political affairs
– Natural disasters
Depending on the organization’s nature and structure, there may be other potential risks to this list. To define all and prepare for each one, management should create threat and risk assessment plans that will help in the process. Here are some additional potential threats:
– The effect that personnel loss can have on the company
– Changes in market trends or customer preferences
– The company’s agility level when responding to security-related incidents
– Financial structure and volatility
Each of these risks needs to be detailed and planned. In the following phase of business continuity management, the company will need to determine the likelihood and the potential impact of each risk.
When the probability and potential impact have been determined, the organization can see which risks are a priority to handle or prepare. Then, as the importance is identified and the possible solutions found, the organization can evaluate and price all processes.
Of course, it is important to note that the business continuity plans evolve. Evaluating and pricing potential risks and their probability is an ongoing process that needs to be addressed regularly. Nothing is static as new technologies, geopolitical matters, and competition evolves continuously.
Agile Disaster Recovery
How well a company recovers from a disaster is determined by the quality of the preparations with the business continuity management process beforehand. The recovery of a disaster depends on the team’s activity and the work done to evaluate and remediate the risks. When recovering from a disaster, the organization is in specific incident planning as opposed to broader planning.
After the incident has occurred, the teams in charge need to communicate the tasks well and revise the set plans accordingly. Following the initial business continuity management, planning is crucial in handling the problems and recovering quickly.
Communication as Part of Business Continuity Management
Communication is critical in handling all BCM plans appropriately. This segment needs to be clear and transparent. This way, the organization can communicate with the customers, employees, stakeholders, and partners during and after an incident.
All messages must come from a unified corporate voice and be consistent.
The Potential Risks of a Lacking Business Continuity Management
There are many risks to not having a correctly set BCM plan or lacking one completely. From losing partners to losing customers and profits, here are some of the most significant problems that lie in ill-prepared BCM strategies.
– Prolonged downtime for all applications, systems, and cloud-based servers. The downtime can result in the loss of ample revenue.
– Loss of credibility in the eyes of consumers, stockholders, and partners. The brand identity an organization has been building for years could be lost in a matter of hours or days.
– Plummeting customer retention.
Business Continuity Management Bottom Line
By the end of this article, you have understood how important it is to have a solid business continuity management strategy in place. Establishing such a framework increases a company’s agility to handle potential risks and recover quickly without generating major losses in any segment of its working. Business continuity management should be an essential part of organizational culture in all organizations regardless of the industry and size.
Donald Korinchak is a Cybersecurity Professional in the Washington DC area. Donald holds an MBA from the University of Pittsburgh Katz School of Business. Donald is considered a thought leader in business, leadership, and cybersecurity issues.